Vanity Fair (UK), April 13, 1905

(“Modern Society,” says Mr. Cosmo Hamilton, “has become a Variety Society. Everyone must be ready at any moment to perform a song or dance.”)

A PERSON whose ambition is to shine
   In the set the weekly papers
            Call the smartest,
Must endeavour all the while
To cultivate a style,
   That’s modelled on some leading comic artist.
His balance at the banker’s may be large,
   His name may have a decent sort of handle,
But you’ll notice in a minute
That he simply isn’t in it
   With the fellow who can sing like Harry Randall.

      For the standard of behaviour
      In fashion in Belgravia
         Has undergone a change in modern days.
      To succeed in good Society,
      You only need variety:
         Variety’s the only thing that pays.

We study every day till late at night
   To master all the subtle
            Little touches:
The Duke forgets his gout,
And throws himself about
   In a merry little can-can with the Duchess.
The Bishop shirks the business of his See:
   His mind upon variety he fixes,
And, with energy unflagging,
Never rests until his gagging
   Is admitted to resemble Seymour Hicks’s!

      For the standard of behaviour
      In fashion in Belgravia
         Has altered very much in modern days.
      You don’t need birth or piety,
      To help you in Society:
         Variety’s the only thing that pays.

P. G. Wodehouse.